This article was written by Kevin Roberts, Executive Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, and first published in The Hindu Business Times.
The next five years will throw a lot of cold water on marketers, waking them up to a burning challenge. At the heart of it is a global tech-fuelled surge of power from brands to people, and today it is sweeping through a younger, assertive hooked-up India.
The wave of Indian connectivity and empowerment blows my mind. According to IAMAI/BCG, India will have 550 million Internet users by 2018, with internet users in rural areas touching 210 million. Online video consumption has doubled in two years. Around two-thirds of Indians are sharing videos on mobile. Mobile Internet is a monster – India is the fastest growing mobile phone market in the world. Next year it should pass the US to become the second biggest smartphone market, after China. Online retail and e-commerce, too, are on a tear.
India is rushing toward a future of networked aspiration and brand expectation. There are some first responses. Marketing in digital is getting more purpose-driven, video content-focused and regional-/ local- / personal-orientated. The rise of the bottom of the pyramid is on the radar. Offline shopping is becoming more experiential, and retail is off on the journey to create an omnichannel experience for people.
Evolved consumer markets such as the US signpost the winning road in this future. Tech-drunk “screenagers” have gained instant power to assess, ignore, compare and switch brands, and expectations of brands are on the rise. In emerging markets, the same happens, just faster! New consumers accelerate up and right off the brand curve.